ancestors, Buddhism, grief, main, mindfulness, practice, radicalcare

Loving and Grieving in a Way that Lets Go

nate-rayfield-_WR6tUIAJe8-unsplashimage by @n8rayfield

As I write this, I find acceptance, grief, love, and appreciation as my companions on this three-year anniversary of the death of my mother. It is a time, a season with good-byes for many of us. How does one be with loss? How does one offer themselves care? How does one not lose faith that this too shall pass?

For me, in this moment, I find myself turning to practice — the practice of slowing down, rest, music, movement, stillness, writing, joy, wonder, gratitude, and ancestral practices. As I light my incense and bow before my altar today, my whole being vertebrates thank you. Thank you to this being who was my everything. Thank you for all of the experiences, the support, the care, the challenges, the love.

I find myself wondering if she will visit me today and then realizing that of course she will, she does, always. I really appreciate the concept that we are a continuation of our ancestors, which I’ve heard Zen Meditation Master Thich Nhat Hanh teach. They live in us. We live in them. I live on behalf of them. I love on behalf of them. I heal on behalf of them.

Today I am resting in that connection we will always have and exploring space as a practice of freedom and support. Space for grief and all the feelings to be here. Space to take care of myself in all of the ways that are needed. Space to love in a way that doesn’t contain or restrict. Space to love in a way that loves and lets go with each cycle of breath.

 ‘Breathing in, I see myself as space. Breathing out, I feel free.’ People who have space within don’t suffer. People who have space around them, they don’t suffer. It’s like the moon. Look at the moon traveling in the empty sky. It has a lot of space around it. The moon is serene, happy. But we, sometimes, we don’t have space inside. We are full of worries, of anger, of fear, of projects, of desire. We don’t allow ourselves to have space inside, and there is no space outside at all. We don’t feel that we have the time. We don’t feel that we have space to move around. What kind of life are we having?

When we love someone, we love in such a way that we no longer have any time, any space and we deprive the person we love of space and time, and love becomes a prison for us and for the other person. That is not true love. If you love someone and if that someone isn’t capable of moving any more, that’s not love. So space is a very big gift. You have to offer him space if you want him to be truly happy. Offering him space inside. Offering him space outside around him. This is a very important practice. We will learn how to put more space inside and to arrange so that we have plenty of space around us. That is very crucial for our happiness. ‘Breathing in, I see myself as space. Breathing out, I feel free.’

…We have to practice to free ourselves and to put into ourselves a lot of space and around us also. This is a technique of liberation. ‘Breathing in, I see myself as space. Breathing out, I feel free.’”

 — Zen Meditation Master Thich Nhat Hanh from his dharma talk “We are the Continuation of our Ancestors”

jaclyn-moy-BLZqzDZ02lI-unsplashimage by @jelizabm

If you are in need of space, support, or care, may this post offer you a piece of what you are seeking. May you be well, rested, safe, and loved.

With love,

—Lissa E.

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